SOUTHLAKE -- Longtime Carroll school employees Chauncey Willingham and Susan Anders remember when Superintendent Jack D. Johnson hired them as teachers in the 1970s."He wanted to be the best he could be. He set the bar. He's why Carroll is what it is today," Anders said.Mr. Johnson, the district's first superintendent, who held the job for 28 years of great change and growth, died Thursday at his Southlake home. He was 85.Mr. Johnson was hired to teach at a Southlake school in 1957, when the area was largely rural. Two years later, when the Carroll school district was formed with 200 students, he was promoted to superintendent, a post he held until retirement in 1987.Today, the Carroll district is known for schools with exemplary state rankings and a high school football team that has won state championships.For Anders, the high school's Dragon slogan, "Protect the Tradition," started with Mr. Johnson."He is why there is a tradition to protect," said Anders, who still works at Jack D. Johnson Elementary.Mr. Johnson was born July 12, 1927. He grew up in Westminster, northeast of Dallas.He graduated from what was then East Texas State Teachers College in Commerce. He served two years in the Army during the Korean War and then got his first teaching job in his hometown. He then worked a year in Clarendon in the Panhandle.While he was still Carroll superintendent, trustees voted to name a new elementary school for him. Johnson Elementary opened in 1981. Now, a collection of photographs in the school's front entry honors Mr. Johnson."It's important for us to keep his legacy alive in our school," Prinicpal Lori Allison said. "It becomes more important with the passing of a legend."Mr. Johnson visited frequently, walking the halls and talking to children. Allison started at Johnson as a second-grade teacher, and one of Mr. Johnson's granddaughters was in her class."I know Mr. Johnson best as a grandfather here," she said. "You could tell he really loved kids."Mr. Johnson hired Willingham in 1975 as a middle school science teacher and a coach. He made it clear that academics were the first priority, Willingham said.If a student's name was in the paper for an academic or extracurricular accomplishment, he'd cut it out and make sure the student got a copy."He did that for every kid," Willingham said. "I still hear kids talk about that."Willingham remembers Mr. Johnson's message during the teachers' convocation before school started each year: It was essentially that if you're having a bad day or are going to be negative, stay home."He wanted the kids to have a positive influence in their lives and didn't want teachers to do anything to negate that," he said.He also had a lot of influence in Austin, serving as vice president and president of the Texas Association of School Administrators and chairman of the Athletic Committee for the University Interscholastic League.A service for Mr. Johnson was Saturday.